Parent College Coach Tip #94: How to Save Money on College
If you’re a parent with a college-bound teen you might be feeling just a bit overwhelmed. With tuition costs rising and many colleges reducing their financial aid packages, it’s easy to wonder if you’ll be able to afford that hefty college price tag. Whether you are looking at fall college admission payments coming due, or you have several years to go before forking over the cash, you’ll appreciate these simple tips to help you save money on college.
Encourage your teen to search and apply for scholarships. There are all types of scholarships available for all types of students at all ages and education levels. Summer is the perfect time to search and apply, thus conquering summer boredom.
Get college credit early with AP exams. If you teen is enrolled in high school AP courses, make sure they take the AP exams. If they score well, they will receive college credit, which can save you thousands of dollars in tuition alone.
Don’t discount private universities. Your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) will be the same no matter which college your teen attends. Private universities have substantial alumni donors and also have the largest aid packages with many paying the total cost of tuition.
Consider programs that provide funds during college in exchange for a service commitment. These programs such as ROTC, AmeriCorps, VISTA and the Peace Corps offer tuition reimbursement, stipends and also provide an opportunity to serve.
Apply for financial aid even if you don’t think you will qualify. Every family should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Every college uses this form to distribute need-based and non-need based aid. Even if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, your teen might qualify for an academic campus-based scholarship.
Be a penny pincher. You can save big bucks on textbooks, computers, meal plans, dorm furnishings and transportation. Investigate alternatives to paying top dollar for new items and save on second-hand items.
Encourage your teen to take summer classes at your local community college. The cost for these courses will be substantially less that at a four-year university. However, make sure that these credits will transfer to your teen’s chosen college upon completion.
Before your teen heads off to college, create a simple budget that will help your teen and your family plan for college-related expenditures. These simple college cost savings tips should help you save a large chunk of change; and in today’s economy, every dollar counts.
Check out my guide for parents: Parents Countdown to College Crash Course